Trade Talk 21 June 2019
Prime Minister: Australia and Singapore are Strategic Partners
In a speech in Singapore on 7 June, Prime Minister Morrison said Australia and Singapore were natural friends and strategic partners with shared interests in the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. The Prime Minister spoke about deepening cooperation on digital trade and other shared regional objectives, including defending the proposition that international rules and norms help trade, underpin our common prosperity and help to promote peace.
G20 Trade and Digital Economy Ministers issue joint messages on the interplay between trade and digital policy
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews attended the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and the Digital Economy in Japan earlier this month. Minister Birmingham said the meeting was an opportunity for G20 Trade Ministers to advocate for concrete solutions for WTO reform before the next WTO Ministerial Conference in June 2020. Against the backdrop of trade tensions, Japan secured a consensus ministerial statement on issues such as WTO reform, the need for action regarding the dispute settlement system, the WTO e-commerce negotiations and the economic potential of digital trade.
Australia's quarterly trade surplus reaches record high
Australia's trade surplus reached a record high of $13.6 billion in the March quarter, up $4.8 billion on the previous quarter's result. Australia has now recorded a trade surplus every month since January 2018, and in 28 of the last 30 months.
Australia targets new and emerging tourism markets
According to the latest International Visitor Survey, China remained Australia's leading tourism market during the year ending March 2019. Chinese visitors (aged over 15) increased by 3 per cent to 1.3 million, while trip spend increased 10 per cent to reach $12 billion, up $1.1 billion on the year ending March 2018. India remained the strongest growth market, with visitor numbers up 15 per cent and the number of nights spent in Australia up 21 per cent. The Survey also showed record numbers of tourists from South and South East Asia were spearheading strong growth in new and emerging markets.
FTA utilisation increasing
DFAT Assistant Secretary Lachlan Crews spoke on FTA utilisation at the Border and Biosecurity Compliance Program organised by the Freight and Trade Alliance in Melbourne earlier this week. Mr Crews pointed to research based on trade data showing the utilisation of Australia's FTAs to obtain tariff cuts was strong, and growing over time.
Lessons from AANZFTA for regional integration
The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA was ASEAN's first region-to-region trade agreement, Australia's first multi-country FTA, the first time Australia and New Zealand were involved in joint negotiations and the first time ASEAN embarked on comprehensive negotiations simultaneously. Asialink's Melissa Conley Tyler writes that at 10 years old, many of the gains AANZFTA promised at its outset have been borne out.
Keeping the wheels of commerce turning
Despite agreeing to gradually reduce tariffs after World War II, many countries continued to restrict flows of goods across borders in other ways, such as imposing different exchange rates to stimulate exports and discourage imports. Multiple Currency Practices (MCP), which are forbidden by the IMF, also include offering favourable exchange rates to selected industries. The IMF is reviewing its MCP policy to keep up with foreign exchange market developments and with the objective of maintaining the downward trend of use of such practices.
Lowy Interpreter: Australia should pursue opportunities in a booming Bangladesh
David Brewster argues Australia would benefit from diversifying its Indo Pacific economic and political engagement beyond East Asia, noting that trade between Australia and Bangladesh has grown some 550 per cent over the last decade.
World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights
In most of sub-Saharan Africa, and in parts of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the working age population is growing faster than the non-working-age population, creating an opportunity for accelerated economic growth, according to the UN's latest Population Division report released this month.
Reminder - DFAT's iSAY essay competition closing next Friday!
DFAT's essay competition is open to students in years 11 and 12 and Australian and ASEAN university undergraduates. The high school essay topic draws out the local benefits that come from trade. The university topic focuses on trade between Australia and ASEAN and celebrates the Australia now ASEAN year. Entries close soon…next Friday 28 June!
Did You Know?
Nearly 45,000 full time tourism jobs were created in Australia over the past five years.
IA-CEPA: Towards a Stronger Business Partnership between Australia and Indonesia
Acton, ACT, 25 June 2019
This public lecture is jointly hosted by the ANU College of Business and Economics and the ANU Indonesia Project. The presenter, Thomas Lembong, is the Chairman of the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board and a former Minister of Trade of Indonesia.
Indian E-commerce Market Update
Webinar, 11 July 2019
This free Austrade webinar is aimed at Australian businesses who would like to explore listing their product in the Indian e-commerce market.
Australia-China Economic, Trade and Investment Expo
Melbourne, VIC, 12-14 July 2019
The Australia-China Economic Trade & Investment Expo 2019 is organised by the Australia China Business Council and the China Chamber of Commerce in Australia with the support of the Victorian Government.